The Penultimate Curiosity: How Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions

Hardcover | March 25, 2016

byRoger Wagner, Andrew Briggs

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When young children first begin to ask "why?" they embark on a journey with no final destination. The need to make sense of the world as a whole is an ultimate curiosity that lies at the root of all human religions. It has, in many cultures, shaped and motivated a more down to earth scientificinterest in the physical world, which could therefore be described as penultimate curiosity. These two manifestations of curiosity have a history of connection that goes back deep into the human past. Tracing that history all the way from cave painting to quantum physics, this book (a collaboration between a painter and a physical scientist that uses illustrations throughout the narrative)sets out to explain the nature of the long entanglement between religion and science: the ultimate and the penultimate curiosity.

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When young children first begin to ask "why?" they embark on a journey with no final destination. The need to make sense of the world as a whole is an ultimate curiosity that lies at the root of all human religions. It has, in many cultures, shaped and motivated a more down to earth scientificinterest in the physical world, which could...

Roger Wagner has been described by Charles Moore as the "best religious painter in Britain today". He gained first class honours in English Literature at Oxford, and then studied for three years at the Royal Academy before returning to live in Oxford and paint full time. Both The Ashmolean Museum at Oxford and The Fitzwilliam Museum a...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 9.45 × 6.61 × 1.19 inPublished:March 25, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198747950

ISBN - 13:9780198747956

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Table of Contents

PART I: In the Beginning I1. The First Men2. Tentasali3. Watauinawa4. The Garden of Eden Moment5. Primate Parallels6. Horizons of Curiosity7. Ultimate CuriosityPART II: God Driven Science8. The Lions of Miletus9. The Move to Athens10. Through the Academy DoorPART III: Encounters in Alexandria11. Two Students12. The Divided City13. Industrious Jack14. The Creation of the WorldPART IV: The Long Argument15. The Dream of Aristotle16. Al Ghazali's Pilgrimmage17. A Tale of Two Cities18. Imposed Silence19. Experimental Science20. The Universal LawPART V: The Open Book of Heaven21. Against Aristotle22. Free Philosophising23. The Freedom of Intellect24. Simplicius Reborn25. The CreationPART VI: Priests of Nature26. A New Era27. A Lutheran Astrologer28. The Experimental Philosophy29. The Oxonian SparklesPART VII: The Ocean of Truth30. Le Grand Newton31. The Beautiful System32. Mathematical Theologies33. The Coast of InfinityPART VIII: Voyages of Discovery34. Two Journeys35. The Mystery of Mysteries36. The Creed of SciencePART IX: In the Beginning II37. The Literary Inquest38. Breaking the Seals39. The Intellectual Picklock40. In a Strange Land41. By the waters of Babylon42. Adan and Adapa43. Ariadne's ThreadPART X: Through the Laboratory Door44. Science in a Time of Cholera45. A Visit to the Museum46. Experiments of Thought47. The Unity of Nature48. The Works of the LordPART XI: Epilogue